As Michael Anton and others predicted months before Election Day, media and tech companies have launched a full-scale attack on our democratic process by rushing to name Joe Biden president-elect prematurely and to silence dissent. Even the supposedly conservative Fox News has resorted to outright censorship of legitimate challenges to this narrative.
Everyone who stayed up to watch the news on election night remembers Trump’s massive, double-digit lead in the swing states. They also remember the media’s bizarre dawdling to call any of Trump’s obvious victories—Florida, Texas, even Alaska.
For Biden, however, outlets were disgracefully quick to call states where his victory was not clear at all. Many went to sleep wondering if something was afoot—a media driven “reality” meant to conceal what had really happened. Others who stayed up remember several crucial swing states simultaneously announcing a sudden pause in the counting of ballots.
A few states attempted to explain their holdup. In Georgia, officials claimed that “a pipe burst”; though open records requests and text messages later revealed it was only a “slow leak” that should not have affected counting.
Although television anchors reported an Election Night pause in Michigan, the spokesperson for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson warned Americans not to believe their lying eyes: “At no point has the counting process stopped since it began at 7 a.m. yesterday morning,” she told PolitiFact.
But according to poll watchers’ testimony, both can be true, albeit in a perverse sense: the “paused” states did announce a pause in order to send Republican poll watchers home, but then continued counting through the night.
Georgia’s GOP Chairman David Shafer affirmed this mischief on November 9: “Fulton County elections officials told the media and our observers that they were shutting down the tabulation center at State Farm Arena at 10:30 p.m. on election night only to continue counting ballots in secret until 1:00 a.m,” a fact that “no one disputes.”
When we awoke on November 4, we discovered that vote counts had mysteriously flipped, and Biden was soaring into the lead. Some pundits tried to explain the phenomenon by assuring us that the votes counted late at night were mail-in ballots, which Biden was expected to win by a comfortable margin. But without independent verification of these late-night votes, including signature match, it would be impossible to prevent “vote laundering,” or the secret inclusion of just enough fraudulent or illegal mail-in ballots with legal ones during the unobserved counting that continued in Democrat-controlled precincts. Indeed, eyewitnesses testifying to this very crime have now come forward. Not every whistleblower or affidavit is credible, but the mysterious circumstances on election night demand that sworn accounts of what happened be taken seriously in court, at the very least.
Americans who watched these strange events unfold on their television screens couldn’t recall ever witnessing sweeping, coordinated “pauses” in only Democrat-controlled swing states during previous elections. But officials including Federal Elections Commissioner Trey Trainor realized what was happening. “I do believe that there is voter fraud taking place in these places,” he said on November 6.
By now, the election has displayed numerous “tells” that our own State Department uses to highlight fraudulent vote tabulation in countries like Iran and Ukraine: statistical anomalies, blocking and obscuring official observers, procedural irregularities such as stopping vote counts, suspicious software “glitches,” and social media blackouts when citizens raise the alarm.
This may be part of the reason that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on November 10, perhaps facetiously, that there would be “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” He addressed one question about fraud directly: “We have a legal process . . . we must count every legal vote; we must make sure that every vote that was unlawful not be counted—that dilutes your vote.”
Thankfully, litigation, hand-recounts, and even federal investigations of fraud are all underway—a process that other countries with questionable elections like Syria don’t have. But if proof of systematic meddling is uncovered, Americans must still rely on the justice system to act on this proof, and the media to ensure the rightful winner is declared.
But what if these hallowed institutions don’t deliver?
It might be terrifying to admit, but American democracy depends on authorities who have lost the public trust: unbiased state and city officials to ensure procedural fairness, unbiased election workers to ensure vote integrity, unbiased judges to enforce that integrity, and unbiased media to inform the American people about the other three. Who will audit the auditors? To examine one test case, the Georgia GOP has already raised alarms that the promised audit in their state does not meet crucial evidentiary criteria. Will something be done?
This election represents the ultimate test of our system and its resilience in a partisan age. If partisans can seize levers of power that impact election results, and they’ve shown they’ll stop at nothing in their revanchism, why engage in elections at all?
And what other recourse, short of revolution, can right the situation?
Prior to the election, there was already widespread agreement that the vote-by-mail fiasco was orchestrated and authorized extralegally by Democrats—over Republicans’ objections—in states like Pennsylvania. A judge ruled on November 12 that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar lacked statutory authority to extend the mail-in deadline, and ballots arriving after 8:00 p.m. on November 3 must be tossed out.
But will Democrats accept this ruling, or appeal it? Will every other instance of legislative and procedural election meddling be addressed in court before the election certification deadline? And how will other judges rule on these cases? In a high-stakes climate of suspicion, both sides will fight tooth and nail over the results.
R. Reno, conservative editor of First Things, has tried to reassure his readers of the resilience of American democracy: “If [President Trump’s] lawsuits are without merit, they will be dismissed, in some cases by Republican-appointed judges. This process of review and adjudication adds legitimacy to the election’s final outcome.” But Reno has spent a career pointing out the fallibility of court decisions high and low on social issues, including decisions by Republican-appointed judges. Does he now think they are infallible exclusively in election-related cases?
Even if courts rule on cases that affect vote tallies, the partisan fight could continue past certification, on into the Electoral College. State legislatures appoint electors based on their state’s popular vote—but they don’t have to. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution allows for extreme cases of electoral failure that would permit legislatures to appoint delegates “in such manner as they direct.” At first, state legislative leaders shied away from talk of electoral failure, but after evidence of fraud began to mount, Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Michigan have now insisted that a full audit be conducted before they will certify electors.
The above merely scratches the surface of America’s democratic dilemma. When a sharply divided country meets to decide its next leader, there must be some level of trust that both sides will engage in the process fairly. After the events of November 3, that trust simply does not exist—and the only way it can be restored is through transparency and vote security that eliminates the possibility of fraud.
If Republicans concede the fraught 2020 election to Joe Biden—as it seems, for now, they will not—election reforms of this kind will never be enacted. The coordinated actions of federal law enforcement and intelligence services, the media, corporations, and assorted “resistance” bureaucrats against President Trump in the last four years have taught us just how deep the rabbit hole of corruption and criminality goes—and how powerful the administrative state and its corporate allies have become.
If the Democrats get away with fraud this time, no future election will stop them.